Sevilla’s Diego Carlos and Luuk de Jong got on the scoresheet to secure a fifth La Liga win in a row as their side enjoyed a 2-0 victory at Osasuna on Monday to move above Barcelona into third place and join the title race.
Osasuna defender Oier Sanrujo almost got the hosts off to a perfect start when he sent a header crashing against the post in the opening minutes but it was Sevilla’s Brazilian defender Diego Carlos who broke the deadlock.
The Spaniard outjumped two Osasuna players to meet an out-swinging corner from Joan Jordan and his header had too much power for goalkeeper Sergio Herrera to keep out.
De Jong put the visitors further ahead early in the second half with a backheel to guide a low cross from Munir El Haddadi into the net, while substitute Papu Gomez nearly added a third late on but was denied by Herrera.
It was a welcome victory for Sevilla after their 3-2 home defeat by Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last-16, first leg last week and saw them move to 48 points, one point ahead of Barca who drew 1-1 at home to Cadiz on Sunday.
They took advantage of Atletico Madrid’s 2-0 defeat by Levante on Saturday to close the gap with the leaders to seven points with 15 games left, adding more intrigue to a title race which looked like a forgone conclusion less than a month ago.
Sevilla are also four points behind second-placed Real Madrid, with a game in hand.
“We played well in every aspect, we were solid defensively against a team that plays with a lot of intensity and pace while not altering our usual attacking style,” said Lopetegui.